Chinese Website Designs and their Marketing Strategies

Conducting business in China is not for the meek. It takes an aggressive form of patience, love and most importantly, an open mind to embrace the country’s culture, values, and traditions which mirror themselves into every design I have ever seen. It is not unconventional to accept that most of China’s trade happens online.

China is the largest eCommerce importer and exporter in the world and everything they do has moved online. But let’s take a look at Chinese Website Designs and why are so peculiar in their current art form.

Chinese Website Design
Chinese Website Design

Breaking Down the Market for Design

It is essential to break down marketing efforts for China’s audiences by targeting both customers and businesses separately. To achieve this you will need to offer an easy switch in your approach that allows users to find the best match for their requirements online.

This is one of the district breakups where Chinese businessmen stand out. China’s Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities have highly targetted prospects that are setting a new pool for online marketing agencies. As a result, China’s extensive population and the curbing of their one-child policy has led to a higher GDP growth rate in rural, tier 2 and tier 3 urban districts.

Being able to localize business for these cities by geo-tagging, therefore, is an approach that most companies are exploring.

Due to the widespread text-only nature of most Chinese Website Designs, it is mandatory that headers have vital business details. Clearer visibility of BAT ( Baidu, Alibaba – Weibo and Tencent – Wechat) has proven to be successful in allowing users to contact businesses easily.

The email address point-of-contact in headers are replaced by corporate social integrations. Chinese users rarely use email for first-contact communication. Why? Because Chinese users prefer to use a mobile number instead of an email address for logging in. Mobile numbers have more confidentiality to them and are linked to every possible bank and government card.

BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent)
BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent)

Headers and Heros for Websites

If you take a look at secondary headers, most Chinese Website Designs do not offer a translation or country switcher. The purpose of a country switcher is to show global presence. Offering a switcher in the header of a website often indicates language choices.

Moving it out of the header into the footer is a better option to avoid confusion. If a business portfolio expands beyond simplified Chinese, it would be ideal to offer language options in this spot. As a result, automated translations for simplified Chinese will not work well on globalized websites.

Chinese audiences tend to not trust websites that do not seem localized. Hence the right content translation, local numbers, local social networks, and local addresses are important to be displayed.

Headers and Heros with Contextual Design
Headers and Heros with Contextual Design

Easy access to forms in the header or homepage hero has become an essential marketing tool for lead generation. Forms are trimmed down or broken up into a step-by-step function.

Multiple tabs at the top of the page make users bounce between tabs in search of information. Chinese Website Designs purge multiple tabs and instead makes forms work dynamically based on how the user begins filling out information.

Chinese Website Designs purge multiple tabs and instead makes forms work dynamically based on how the user begins filling out information.

Making things Easier for Chinese Website Designs

Chinese glyphs are difficult to search. That is the reason why Chinese websites have more links and text that help users find content or services easily without searching. Understanding user intent by offering more information in a dynamic means help drive better leads.

Chinese users do not rely on in-app fields for their typing. Mandarin typing algorithms are never accurate. Trimming down the editable regions make it easier for lead-gen forms to get filled.

Chinese IT webmasters use localized CDN font libraries like Youziku to embed fonts and typography for Chinese Website Designs. These CDNs have the right glyphs that look great and help with latency.

Websites are hosted in mainland China to reduce a lot of latency. Doing so means that webmasters are able to bypass the great firewall of China and are able to deliver content without any hiccups.

The Infamous Great Firewall of China

Deeper Website Design Integration

Chinese users love an all-in-one encompassing ecosystem. Ensuring that all localized features such as payment, chat, support, reviews, tele-calling, discounts, cashback, sweepstakes, email etc are handled at the website level through deep multi-account integration, these websites get highly appreciated.

Payments lower than $50 do not require a password or 2-factor authentication as long as integration is done with localized social payment channels. Initiating a deposit or advance at a lower price help onboard users faster.

Design & Navigation

Chinese design viewpoints have been moving towards a more minimalistic approach but the need for links and easy in-app navigation still needs to exist. Exploring cleaner design that still maintains enough information is A/B tested and pushed out to consumers in segregated marketing campaigns.

Menus are horizontally laid out. Submenus and sub-sub menus are highly appreciated for discovering and exploring. Content is available in abundance. Vertical navigation is removed especially with mobile design because the Mandarin type is designed for horizontal reading typically.

In addition, using the right color combination is crucial to appeasing China’s culture and values. White is associated with death. Black is negative. Yellow indicates a pornographic site. While it is best practice to use gold and red, too much of it also indicates overreaching, fake or first-copy Chinese Website Designs.

Horizontal Menus in Chinese Design
Horizontal Menus in Chinese Design

Chinese consumers love to see online reputation and positive attention with the people they intend to do business with. Reviews, ratings, and testimonials on social handles drive more results via Weibo, QQ and Wechat. They do not use Facebook or Twitter feeds as they slow down crawls and latency.

Mobile Only Chinese Website Designs

China is probably the only country in the world that needs a mobile-only approach for their websites. Neilson reported that nearly 95% of Chinese users access the Internet from their mobiles. Desktop and mobile Chinese Website Designs have to serve different purposes.

Desktop websites promote browsing bookmarking and following light apps on WeChat mobile. Desktops have QR codes on them. Showing multiple QR codes on a website for mobile and social networks is highly popular.

Making use of QR codes is new and customary in China. Users scan QR codes and avail an offer or send in their information. QR codes link to corporate WeChat accounts and not websites. URL publications do not work. Users always use QR codes to open websites.

Light App / Site Development

Websites are outdated. It’s time to build light apps, popularly known as Qing Ying Yong. Zero downloads, hyper-targeted mini-sites built on HTML5. These are not responsive sites, therefore, they look terrible if seen on a desktop.

These Chinese Website Designs are built for light, one-time usage. As a result, users would open a light app once, flip through it, ideally pass it on to friends via mobile sharing, and then never look at it again.

Social Sharing of Light Apps for Rewards

Chinese users share websites on a single social network. Websites often allow users to share the site on a preferred local social channel. Light apps very rarely endorse sales. Instead, they endorse an offer for sharing and in turn, bring back band credibility.

Chinese Website Designs
Chinese Website Designs and Microsites

Social Marketing and QR Codes

Internal marketing of Light apps on Wechat is the norm for discovering the mobile site or app. If a site does not perform on WeChat, no one will ever move out to using the mobile or desktop version. WeChat is so popular that developers are making light apps optimized for WeChat’s default browsers.

In addition, Social apps like Weibo and WeChat have browsers in them that allow users to scan QR codes to start using services. Users can browse mobile versions, make payments, get offers etc without leaving the app.

Video & Media on Chinese Website Designs

Short videos perform relatively well amongst rural Chinese users. With micro-services like TikTok and social networking video sites going viral, it makes sense to take advantage of these video streaming channels. Similarly, “How it Works” or “ “Testimonials” are topics of great interest.

CLM Engagement for Chinese Website Designs

Lead nurturing on social networks is a great way to engage with China’s consumer market. Being able to interact with consumers using knowledge sharing sessions and guides to best practices can help build brand credibility. Similarly, Editors and Translators invited to podcasts and conducting webinars are great ways to engage with audiences.

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